There was a young monk stopping by a practice centre in a village.  Someone offered him two monastic robes. (In the past, people can make any kind of offering to monastics. It’s like people offering food to monastics nowadays. The person happened to have robes at home to offer to the young monk, the monk who had left the household life.  As a monk, he could accept such an offering.)  After this, the monk decided to offer one of them to a senior monk. (The senior monk was his mentor,  also a senior monk in the temple the so-called master in modern term.  The senior monk was the young monk’s uncle.) After the retreat, he returned to the monastery the young monk visited the senior monk and spoke to him who was the young monk’s uncle. The young monk offered the robe to his uncle. The senior monk said, “I have enough robes already, I have a lot of them”.  So he declined the offering. The young monk earnestly requested a few times, but the senior monk declined his offer firmly. He made it clear that he really didn’t want the robe. The young robe was very sad. He believed his uncle declined his offering because his uncle didn’t like him. (You all know that in our society nowadays when others turn down your gift you’ll feel uncomfortable.  When you offer a gift to someone sincerely, it is a gesture of respect when others accept your gift. Do you understand? Some people would inspect carefully when others give them a gift. After inspecting the gift, they turn it down. Isn’t it embarrassing to others? If you don’t wish to accept the gift you should straight away decline it without any inspection. That would make a big difference. If you decline only after inspecting how would others not be embarrassed? No matter what gift it is, you should be cheerful. A gift is a token of appreciation. Do not let others down. )Back to the story, the young monk was very upset. He believed his uncle disliked him. He even thought to himself since his uncle refused to share the necessity with him.  Robes are considered to be a necessity for monastics. The young monk decided to resume secular life. ”Now that my uncle dislikes me, I would return to secular life”. “If you don’t like me, why should I follow you?” “I might as well live a secular life and quit being a monastic”.

From then on, he was bothered by all distracting thoughts. He was thinking what would become of him after resuming secular life. His mind was in a mess and full of wondering thoughts. He was thinking to sell the robe after resuming secular life and to buy a sheep. The sheep would soon breed a lot of lambs, so that he could earn sufficient income. He could then marry a woman and have his own child. After this, he would bring his wife and child to visit his uncle in the temple. He would say, “Look, they are my wife and my child”. “Look, I have everything now”. He also imagined telling his wife that, he would take care of the child on their way there. But the wife insisted that he should drive the carriage and to leave the child with her. However, he was persistent in taking care of the child. He went and grabbed the child.  In the end, the child fell off the carriage and was run over by the wheel. He was extremely angry and wanted to hit his wife with a stick.

These were all imaginary scenes. At the time, he was fanning his uncle to cool him down. He was occupied with all these wondering thoughts. He was holding a fan at that time. As he was imagining hitting his wife with a stick he hit his uncle’s head with the fan in his hand.  The senior monk was very wise. He possessed great wisdom. He knew what his young nephew was thinking. He said to the young monk,” Hey, if you can’t hit your wife, why are you hitting me for?” As the senior monk could read his mind the young monk was surprised by the mind-reading ability of his uncle. He was totally astonished and walked away with great anxiety. He left the monastery. The senior monk managed to take his nephew to see the Buddha. It was during the Buddha’s time. You can see how fortunate they were. Just because of a small matter the senior monk took his nephew to the Buddha. After hearing about what had happened the Buddha said to the young monk with great compassion, “People’s mind is unsettled, distracted with too many wondering thoughts, even including things in the far future. Your mind could go wild. Therefore, we should strive to liberate ourselves from the Three Poisons of greed, hatred and delusion”. In the story I just told you the young monk was entangled by greed. Therefore, we need to be liberated from that in order to succeed in our cultivation

That’s all for today’s Buddhist teaching session, I wish you could practise Buddhism with diligence. I wish you could calm your mind. What I want to tell you today is that no matter how much the surrounding environment has changed, our mind should remain as it is. Only when our mind stays tranquil, could it be as still as water. Thanks everyone

BHFF 10: Remove the carrier of desires (3/3)